Man Charged With Violating US Sanctions of Iran

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Federal authorities have arrested a man charged in a scheme to ship prohibited metals-processing machines to Iran in violation of sanctions imposed by the United States.

A 21-count indictment unsealed Monday accuses Mehdi “Eddie” Hashemi, 46, of participating in a scheme to export computer numerical control machines to Iran, which are used to convert raw materials like metals to certain standards.

Prosecutors say Hashemi bought the machines from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada and shipped them to the United Arab Emirates using forged invoices and packing slips. From there they were shipped to Iran, the indictment says.

The transactions were made on behalf of a Tehran, Iran-based company named in the indictment as “Company A.” The company purported to manufacture textiles, medical components and auto parts.

Federal prosecutors claim Hashemi attempted to ship the machines himself, including twice through the Port of Long Beach in Southern California.

The machines are export-controlled to comply with nuclear nonproliferation and antiterrorism regulations, said Nicola T. Hanna, the U.S attorney for Los Angeles, in a statement Tuesday.

Hanna said Hashemi is also charged with making false statements to authorities in 2018 when he lied about his activities and his knowledge of U.S. export laws.

In addition to violating the U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran, Hanna said the scheme violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

A second man was also charged in the indictment. Feroz Khan, a resident of the UAE who allegedly helped Hashemi ship machines to Iran, remains a fugitive.

Hashemi, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving on a flight from Turkey.

At his arraignment Monday, Hashemi pleaded not guilty to charges and was ordered held without bond.

If convicted on all 21 charges, Hashemi faces up to 320 years in federal prison.

A trial date is scheduled for Oct. 15.

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